EBay Taiwan Site Nearly Ready, Vows No Fees for 3 Years

A new joint-venture Web auction site between eBay and Taiwanese portal operator PCHome Online is nearly ready, and the companies aim to keep it fee free for the next three years to compete with market leader Yahoo Taiwan.

Currently, the two companies are operating their existing auction websites, which can be found here and here, and plan to keep the sites open to ensure a smooth transition for users, said Joyce Tzeng, a PCHome spokeswoman. The companies haven’t decided on a name for the joint-venture site, which will be unveiled after further testing, she said.

The companies also plan to offer auction services for free over the next three years, Tzeng said. The move is aimed at grabbing market share from Yahoo Taiwan, which last month announced new fees for auctioneers as high as 3 percent per transaction.

Yahoo Taiwan originally planned to start charging the fee on Aug. 10, but a backlash by auctioneers, widespread media attention and the start of an investigation by Taiwan’s Fair Trade Commission prompted the company to postpone the date to Sept. 1.

The Fair Trade Commission is trying to determine whether Yahoo Taiwan has a monopoly position in online auctions in Taiwan, and if so, if it is using that position to fix prices. It could face a maximum fine of 25 million new Taiwan dollars (US$766,000) if it is found in the wrong, according to a statement from the government body.

Yahoo Taiwan’s auction website held a 57.4 percent market share in the first quarter of this year, according to industry researcher ACNielsen, compared to 4.9 percent for eBay and 3 percent for PCHome.

-Dan Nystedt, IDG News Service (Taipei Bureau)

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